Smart Consumer Series: Basic Advice If Your Flight Gets Canceled

Basic advice on how to cope with flight disruptions of any kind


The worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max is causing hundreds of U.S. flights to be canceled every day, scrambling the travel plans of thousands of passengers. The cancellations are likely to drag on until late April at the earliest. That’s because the Federal Aviation Administration is continuing to evaluate a fix proposed by Boeing to the software flaw that may have played a role in two recent fatal crashes of this model aircraft. While the airlines will refund the upgrade charges—or even your fare if you reject the new flight—the airline isn’t under any obligation to get you to your destination at any particular time. That said, passengers can improve the outcome by keeping in mind some basic advice on how to cope with flight disruptions of any kind. Here’s what passengers need to know:

Check to see whether your airline is affected – Because there is no way to know in advance which flights will eventually be rescheduled or canceled, the only practical advice to offer consumers is to remain in close touch with the carrier and check for alerts right up until the day of departure.

Be alert to messages from your airline or travel agent – If you booked your ticket through an airline’s website or app, you should get notifications from the airline about any flight changes. But if you bought your ticket through a travel agency, you’ll need to work with it if your itinerary changes.

Consider what your options are if you aren’t satisfied – Don’t assume you have to accept the first alternative that the airline computer automatically coughs up if you’re rebooked.


Read more about the Boeing 737 Max grounding


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